Last night, we had our fourth gathering of young adults, known as Thursday Night Life. These gatherings are for anyone in their 20’s and 30’s. Another moderate crowd turned out, as usual, competing with many other calendar events.
We as a diocese have a great desire to ‘connect’ with our young adult church. This ‘format’ of Thursday Night Life is a good way to add one more moment to the calendar for prayer, as well as a time to meet other men and women of your age group.
The Gospel selection for the evening was the Emmaus story from Luke’s Gospel, 24:13-35. In this famous account, we hear of two disciples, dejectedly walking to Emmaus after Jesus’ crucifixion, only to have the ‘unknown’ Risen Christ suddenly appear and accompany them on the journey. How often do we not recognize the ways in which Christ accompanies us on our journey of faith?
After these disciples tell Jesus of the recent events (as if He is unaware), Luke tells us that “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he [Jesus] interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.” Here is powerful scriptural evidence that Jesus is not just a rabbi, but the Incarnate Word of the Father.
Is it any wonder that ‘their hearts were burning within them’ when Jesus (the Living Word) explained the scriptures to them?! Jesus not only studied the Word as a teacher in his time, He is the Living, Eternal Word of the Father. He could explain the Scriptures from the time of Moses and the prophets, because as the Word made Flesh, he was present to Moses and the prophets. He was present when the inspired Word of God was written. He IS the Word.
Later, as Jesus made to continue on, the disciples asked him: “Stay with us,”. It was at this time that Jesus “took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.”
This is a powerful teaching of the Eucharist. It calls to mind the request of Jesus while with his disciples in the garden following the Last Supper: “Remain with me.” In the Last Supper, and again in this ‘breaking of the bread,’ Jesus gives us himself as the Bread of Life. It is his express desire to ‘stay with us.’ Even more so, it is his desire to ‘take us to himself’ to conform us more and more into his image.
This understanding of the Eucharist, and Jesus desire for us, is a primary consideration for the format of our Thursday Night Life gatherings. Just as Jesus gathered his disciples for a Last Supper on a Thursday Night, and then invited them to remain with him in prayer in the garden, so we want to find ways to ‘remain with Jesus’ in prayer.
So, our next Thursday Night Life gathering is May 10. Any and all in their 20’s and 30’s are invited and welcome. Come spend some time with Jesus, and make some new friends!